COA wants Mandaue City gov’t charged for sale of 3.6-ha reclaimed land

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    THE Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) should file charges against Mandaue City government officials over the alleged anomalous sale of a 35,821-square meter shoreland property in Barangay Looc, Mandaue City in 2015 for only P1.8 million, the Commission on Audit (COA) has recommended.

    State auditors said the property was illegally reclaimed by the city government through a private company without authority from the PRA.

    “The City government of Mandaue or any private entity has no authority to reclaim and to sell the reclaimed land located in barangay Looc, Mandaue City, Cebu. PRA has not regulated nor authorized the reclamation as it is yet to conduct inspection,” the audit team said.

    It pointed out the authority of city government to reclaim lands within its territorial jurisdiction was already revoked by Presidential Decree No. 3-A, which vested the power to reclaim lands solely to the national government through the PRA.

    PRA, on the other hand, is mandated under PD No. 1084 to reclaim both foreshore and submerged areas of public domain.

    The COA urged the PRA to investigate the Mandaue city government transaction and take all legal options to recover the property, which was sold to private real estate firm E.C.

    Ouano Development and Management Corp (Ecodemcor) at the equivalent of only P50.00 per square meter on September 18, 2015.

    The COA report said there was no record that the property had been appraised and classified as alienable and disposable before the sale.

    The PRA management, in a comment dated March 19, 2019 said its investigative team has surveyed the area and found portions of it occupied by informal settlers while another part is being used as a shipbuilding and repair facility.

    It disclosed that it is already building up documentary records on the transaction to trace the veracity of titles and other papers used to support the Deed of Sale.

    “The same shall be referred to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) for guidance and assistance in the filing of a reversion case and/or other legal remedies available to PRA to protect the interest of the (national government),” the audit report quoted the PRA.

    The agency added that it has been notified that the city government has filed a civil case before the regional trial court seeking annulment of the 2015 sale of the same reclaimed property to Ecodemcor.